by Eileen Brener

Our green cottage, a small square,
chosen for distance from father’s
family, was set in a clearing.
From heaven’s view it seemed
a clear bull’s eye in a target
surrounded by a thick forest
of pines towering and dark.
We thought it belonged in a fairy tale—
the gentle kind with an unhappy
duck or a princess faint after a night
of dancing, but nothing of cannibal
stews, no shaggy shapeless creatures
who’d slip though our house’s tiny cracks
to eat all our food
or change us into lizards.

We bounded into the forest
looking for frogs to kiss or streams
full of talking fish. We left bread
crumb trails and always found
our way home.

Once we spied a raggedy man fishing.
We froze in our tracks, backed slowly
down the path.

Eileen Brener has enjoyed studying writing–poetry and prose–at the IRP.